Ireland is a fascinating country when it comes to sports. That’s because the country’s most popular sports in both participation and attendance are local games.
Gaelic football and Hurling are the two most popular sports in the country, and unsurprisingly, they both originated in Ireland. Together with handball, they are collectively referred to as “Gaelic Games.”
The most-watched game in Ireland is the Gaelic football “All-Ireland Football Final,” an event that can be described as the Irish Super Bowl.
Regardless of the popularity of these sports, association football remains the most widely played team game on the island if we include Northern Ireland.
We have compiled a list of the venues where the games are played and below are the biggest stadiums in Ireland!
1. Croke Park
- Location: Dublin
- Capacity: 82,300
Croke Park is the biggest stadium in Ireland by quite a distance. It’s mainly used for the popular Gaelic Games in Ireland and it was briefly used for football and rugby union games as well between 2007 and 2010. It can seat 69,500 people and the remaining are standing places.
The first version of the stadium in central Dublin was completed between 1880 and 1884 and the most recent renovation was completed in 2004 for €260 million. It was named for Thomas Croke (1824-1902), an Archbishop who an important figure in the Irish nationalist movement in the late 19th century.
2. Aviva Stadium
- Location: Dublin
- Capacity: 51,700
Aviva Stadium is the relatively new sports stadium in Dublin that was constructed on the grounds of the demolished Lansdowne Road Stadium. It’s definitely the most beautiful stadium in Ireland and was completed between 2007 and 2010 at a cost of €410 million.
It was constructed for two national teams of Ireland, the Irish rugby union team and the Republic of Ireland football team. The modern stadium features a distinctive roof that undulates like waves. This remarkable feature was integrated to avoid the stadium blocking the light of the residents living nearby.
3. Semple Stadium
- Location: Thurles
- Capacity: 45,690
Semple Stadium is the second-largest stadium dedicated to GAA of “Gaelic Atheltic Association” teams. It’s located in the town of Thurles in the Irish province of Munster in the south-central part of the country.
Just over half of the stadium’s capacity is seats. The stadium features 24,000 seating and 21,690 standing places. The stadium was initially completed in 1910 but was renovated several times throughout its history. This includes a project of which only the first phase for €5.5 million was completed in 2018.
4. Páirc Uí Chaoimh (The Park)
- Location: Cork
- Capacity: 45,000
Páirc Uí Chaoimh is a stadium in Cork that is commonly referred to as “The Park.” It was completed in 1976 but was completely renovated in 2017 which increased the capacity to 45,000. This transformed the stadium into the third-largest Gaelic games stadium in Ireland.
The two most prominent sports that are played at the stadium are Gaelic football and hurling of teams from the Cork GAA. The stadium is also frequently used for concerts. Ed Sheeran was the lucky artist to be the first to perform at the newly developed stadium in May 2018.
5. Gaelic Grounds
- Location: Limerick
- Capacity: 44,023
The Gaelic Grounds are officially known as the TUS Gaelic Grounds and it’s the main GAA stadium in the Irish city of Limerick in the western part of the country. The first stadium in this location first opened its doors in the year 1928. The main expansion phase took place in the 1980s.
The uncovered Angel Ashes Stand and the two stands behind the goal were constructed in 2004 for €12 million. This project brought the capacity of the stadium to 49,866, which has since been reduced for safety purposes to 44,023. This makes it the 5th-largest stadium in Ireland.
6. Fitzgerald Stadium
- Location: Killarney
- Capacity: 38,000
Fitzgerald Stadium is the main GAA stadium in the Irish city of Killarney in the southwestern part of the country. The stadium was named in honor of the first major superstar of the Gaelic Athletic Association, Dick Fitzgerald (182-1930), and the first version of the stadium was completed between 1930 and 1936.
The £3,000 spent to build the stadium in the 1930s was nothing compared to the €4.8 Million that was spent to renovate it in 2009. Like many other stadiums in Ireland, Fitzgerald Stadium is often used to host concerts. Elton John, Bryan Adams, and the Pussycat Dolls are just some of the artists who have performed here.
7. St Tiernach’s Park
- Location: Clones
- Capacity: 29,000
St Tiernach’s Park is the GAA stadium of Ulster in County Monaghan. The town of Clones is right near the border with Northern Ireland in the northeastern part of the country. Because of its location in this relatively small town, the stadium is commonly referred to as simply “Clones.”
The capacity of the stadium is 29,000, a remarkable figure considering the fact that the town of Clones doesn’t even have 1,700 inhabitants. The stadium is often packed, especially during the main event which is the yearly “Ulster Senior Football Championship final.”
8. Nowlan Park
- Location: Kilkenny
- Capacity: 27,000
Nowlan Park or UPMC Nowlan Park is the main GAA stadium in the Irish city of Kilkenny in the South East Region of Ireland. The stadium was named after James Nowlan (1862-1924) who was the longest-serving President of the GAA between 1901 and 1921.
The stadium opened its door in 1927 and currently has a capacity of 27,000 of which 18,000 are seated. The most popular sport at the stadium is hurling and it’s the home venue of the Kilkenny hurling team. The most important hurling games in this part of Ireland are held at this venue.
9. Pearse Stadium
- Location: Galway
- Capacity: 26,197
Pearse Stadium is the main GAA stadium in the Irish city of Galway in the western part of Ireland. Both the Galway GAA Gaelic football and hurling teams use the stadium to play their games. It opened its doors in 1957 and was renovated in the year 2003.
The capacity of the stadium following this renovation was 34,000 but this has been reduced to just 26,197 in recent times. It’s the venue of popular local games in the Connacht Senior Football Championship and also hosts concerts. Ed Sheeran reportedly performed here for 63,000 fans in 2018.
10. Thomond Park
- Location: Limerick
- Capacity: 25,600
Thomond Park is another stadium in Limerick that is used and owned by the Irish Rugby Football Union. The stadium first opened in 1934 but received a complete facelift between 2007 and 2008. The two stands that face the length of the pitch are some of the most amazing of any stadium in Ireland.
The stadium is the home venue of three different rugby teams, including Munster Rugby, Shannon RFC, and UL Bohemian RFC. Apart from being one of the most stunning stadiums in Ireland, it’s also renowned for its incredibly loud atmosphere during games.